Rural Opioid Abuse Research Brief Released
Opioid abuse is the fastest growing substance abuse problem in the nation and the primary cause of unintentional drug overdose deaths. This study examined the rural-urban prevalence of non-medical use of pain relievers and heroin in the past year and the socio-economic characteristics associated with their use as well as treatment history and perceived need for treatment; perceived risk of using drugs; and other risky behavior. Rural opioid users were more likely to have socio-economic vulnerabilities that might put them at risk of adverse outcomes, including limited educational attainment, poor health status, being uninsured, and low-income. Rural heroin users—especially men and those in poor health—were less likely than urban to say there was a great risk in trying heroin only once or twice.
Jennifer Lenardson, MHS
Maine Rural Health Research Center